Best Rifle Scope Under $1000 – The 4 Best Optics in 2020

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Finding the right rifle scope with awesome features or design choices without also breaking the bank can be tricky. While you have to spend some cash to get a piece of equipment with more advanced features, there are still quality scopes at a reasonable price. Our guide below will show you the best rifle scopes under $1000, plus help you figure out what to prioritize to find the right scope for your needs.


Things to Consider When Buying a Rifle Scope Under $1000

Buying a rifle scope under $1000 can still be quite expensive depending on the exact model purchased. Wherever you land on the financial scale, keep these major aspects in mind when browsing and you’ll have a better chance of picking the best scope for your needs.

First or Second Focal Plane?

All rifle scopes will feature reticles on either the first or second focal plane. First focal plane reticles change in size by becoming smaller as you zoom out and larger as you zoom in. This means that their holdover or estimation hash marks will remain accurate no matter what magnification level you decide to use. However, this can be tricky to get used to.

On the flip side, second focal plane reticles never change size no matter what magnification level you operate within. This makes them perfectly accurate with one magnification setting – usually one of the lower settings – but requires you to estimate windage or elevation mark values as you switch away from that setting. It can be easy to use, but difficult to compensate with at longer or much shorter ranges.

Either way, both reticles can provide you with success if you are comfortable with them. Because there is no perfect reticle for every hunter, we have excellent rifle scopes under $1000 featuring both first and second focal plane reticles for your consideration. You’ll be able to pick your favorite from either category.


Check our guides on other price ranges:


Durability

The best rifle scopes under $1000 ought to be fairly durable to justify their asking prices. To that end, check out what kind of coatings might protect the lenses of a given rifle scope. These lenses can benefit from those defensive coatings, which can prevent them from becoming scratched or dented, even if the rifle scope suffers wear and tear.

You’ll also want to check out whether a rifle scope is built to be waterproof or fog proof. Such scopes are perfect for taking into inclement weather or for hunting in every season. All of the scopes under $1000 that we selected are made with durability in mind, but their exact construction details vary from scope to scope.


Innovations and Features

Naturally, scopes priced around this range should have some excellent bells and whistles to make them worth your time and money. To that end, you should investigate what each scope offers in terms of reticle illumination, parallax adjusters, or audible windage and elevation adjusters.

Several of our scopes under $1000 feature reticles that can be illuminated to one degree or another. This allows you to use the reticle more effectively in very bright sunlight or to adjust reticle brightness settings in the dark. In other words, this feature grants even more versatility to any scope on which it is installed.

Parallax and windage and elevation adjusters are critical parts of any versatile scope, particularly for hunters that target distant animals or points. Eliminating parallax is key to long-distance accuracy, and many of these high-quality scopes feature adjustment knobs that have audible and tactile clicking sounds with each increment you move them. Essentially, you can adjust your various settings without removing your eye from the lens or compromising your accuracy.

All in all, just consider what each scope can offer that distinguishes it from the rest. All of these scopes are high-quality and offer magnification settings that make them good choices for close-range and long-range distances alike. But their other features are what truly distinguishes them as individual products.


Warranty

Finally, consider the manufacturer warranty that comes with each of the below scopes. Scopes under $1000 might be a great bargain depending on their durability and ease of use, but there’s no doubt that they cost a significant amount. Having a great manufacturer warranty can provide you with peace of mind and ensure that you won’t have to pay extra if you receive a scope that’s been damaged in transit.

Furthermore, some of the best scopes under $1000 have lifetime warranties. These warranties will provide you with repair or replacement services so long as you use the scope correctly. The warranties are an incredible value for money and should always be taken into consideration when you are choosing which scope to purchase.


The 5 Best Rifle Scopes Under $1000


1. Leupold VX-3i 3.5x10x40mm Rifle Scope Leupold VX-3i 3.5x10x40mm Rifle Scope

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Leupold and quality go hand in hand, and its VX-3i scope is a great representation of this fact. It features magnification settings between 3.5x and 10x with a 40 mm lens. This lens has been coated to improve light transmission and make it resistant to abrasion. This matches well with the aircraft quality aluminum used to make the body of the scope.

It’s 100% waterproof and fog proof and features a matte finish that reduces your visibility in bright light conditions. The windage and elevation adjusters are also great, clicking audibly with every use. They’re incredibly durable and will remain consistent for a long time to come.

Twilight Max Light Management System

This is the specialized way in which Leupold designs its lenses within many of its scopes. In a nutshell, this light management system will give you about 20 extra minutes of shooting light at dusk or dawn and reduce the glare you experience at the edge of the sight picture. Talk about value for money!

Pros:

  • Light management system is effective
  • Lenses are super durable
  • Scope is fantastic for inclement weather
  • Turrets are consistent

Cons:

  • Turrets can’t be reset to zero

The Final Verdict

Overall, the VX-3i is another fine Leupold scope that’s particularly well-suited for shooting in low light conditions. The light management system is an excellent feature to distinguish it from the rest. It’s durable, built to last, and priced so far below $1000 that many folks will find it quite affordable.


2. Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24×50 SFP Riflescope VMR-1 MOA Vortex Optics Viper HS-T 6-24x50 SFP Riflescope VMR-1 MOA

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This Vortex scope represents the high quality we’ve come to expect from this manufacturer. It features a waterproof and fog proof body and magnification settings between 6x and 24x. Furthermore, this scope has a fast-focus eyepiece and a special 4x zoom setting to let you quickly snap in to a nearby target in a hurry.

This scope uses exposed target-style turrets that allow for repeatable and precise finger adjustable clicks. These adjustment turrets are satisfying to use and feature a zero-stop functionality to let you return your settings to zero in a flash.

Low-Dispersion Lenses

This scope features premium quality and fully multicoated lenses that drastically improve the resolution and color fidelity of the scope’s sight picture. These include XR coatings, which improve the amount of light gathered by the lenses, and Armortek coatings, which increase the lenses’ protection against scratches and dirt smearing on their surfaces. The end result is a phenomenal scope that provides excellent imagery no matter what.

Pros:

  • Lenses are superb quality
  • Turrets feel great to use
  • Body is very durable
  • Fast focus eyepiece is great
  • Special 4x setting is useful

Cons:

  • Eye relief is a bit narrow at higher zoom levels

The Final Verdict

Overall, this scope is a phenomenal piece of equipment that provides lots of versatility thanks to its myriad magnification settings. Its turrets and eyepiece are both excellent compared to competitors’. The lenses are particularly noteworthy, especially with their various coatings, and make this scope well worth the asking price.


3. Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20×50 Riflescope Trijicon TR23 AccuPoint 5-20x50 Riflescope MIL-Dot Crosshair with Green Dot Reticle, 30mm Tube

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This Trijicon scope provides fantastic value for money, largely thanks to its SFP tritium aiming point illuminated reticle, which stays the same size between 5x or 20x zoom. This speeds up your target acquisition and can even let you complete your hunts at darker hours of the day or night.

This scope is built with similar quality among its other components. The lenses are multicoated to improve their clarity and light transmission, and the entire scope is made with aircraft-grade aluminum. The adjustment dials are responsive, tactile, and precise.

Illumination Excellence

This scope’s dedication to illumination is remarkable. It features a dual illumination system which automatically switches your aiming point brightness according to ambient light levels. This makes it easier to use on your part.

You can, of course, manually override these settings whenever you like based on your preferences. Even better, these illumination settings are provided without a battery; the system uses fiber optic technology and a tritium phosphor lamp to provide your reticle with extra light.

Pros:

  • Illumination systems are easy to use
  • Not needing a battery is convenient
  • Scope’s turrets are responsive
  • Light transmission is great

Cons:

  • Turrets don’t lock

The Final Verdict

Overall, this scope is a phenomenal choice for hunters that spend time in the dusk or dawn hours of the day, and for marksmen that need a scope with versatile zoom levels. Its durability, effectiveness, and user-friendliness all mark it as a quality product. The illumination without a battery is a nice bonus as well.


4. Bushnell Elite Tactical 6-24×50 FFP Reticle Riflescope  Bushnell Elite Tactical G2DMR FFP Reticle Riflescope (6-24x50-mm)

Bushnell always creates quality scopes, and this choice is no exception. It’s a scope with zoom levels between 6x and 24x with a 50 mm objective lens. This lens has been fully multicoated to improve light transmission. It’s also bolstered by Rain Guard HD technology, which helps to keep the lens clear even in foggy conditions.

The scope as a whole is made from a single piece of aircraft-grade aluminum and is waterproof, as well. It includes a side focus parallax adjustment knob, a 3-inch sunshade, and a limited lifetime warranty. This last benefit is especially excellent due to the high asking price.

Throwhammer

This scope’s biggest benefit is the throw lever the “Throwhammer”. This allows you to quickly change the magnification settings with a flick of your finger. Compared to many other riflescopes with broad magnification ranges, this is much easier to use and much more responsive. It can be particularly helpful if you need to adjust your zoom level on the fly when tracking a fast-moving target on a hunt. 

Since the reticle is on the first focal plane, it mixes very well with this feature. This scope was built for quickly changing your magnification setting and maintaining your accuracy throughout.

Pros:

  • Very easy to change magnification settings
  • Lenses are durable and transmit light well
  • Parallax adjuster is responsive
  • Includes sunshade and warranty

Cons:

  • Highest zoom is a little blurry
  • Windage and elevation knobs are not the most precise

The Final Verdict

Overall, this rifle scope is well worth the asking price thanks to its durability, warranty, and excellent lenses. The Throwhammer is another useful innovation that we hope to see other riflescopes manufacturers take up in the future.


Conclusion

Overall, any of the above scopes under $1000 will be a fantastic choice for most rifles. Remember to consider the special features of each, as well as whether you’ll use those features, to determine which is most worth your time and money. Good hunting!